May 19, 2015

The power of emoticons

It took Hillary Clinton appearing on the cover of The New Yorker in the form of dozens of emoticons for us to realise something had changed. Perhaps it was the last step, the final confirmation that these little drawings – or emojis – and emoticons have become an extension of our vocabulary. They have become an essential of our daily communication that even Instagram now allows searching of content through emoticons.

The semicolon is no longer a lonely and bored punctuation symbol, but now has a friendly accomplice to create a winking smiley face 😉 Barry Blitt , the artist behind the controversial cover of Clinton’s emoji portrait on The New Yorker, says she’s fascinated by the emoji world. “Really, how can anyone understand something in just words? I feel a little sorry for the alphabet. I cannot wait for someone to write the first novel only with emoticons,” said Blitt to The New York Times. There is a thin line between writing engagingly or in emoticons and emojis. If you fear you’re suffering from this new frenzy, do the Emoji Quiz!

We’ve recently seen how the use of emojis has helped brand increase awareness of world issues. Recently, we have seen how the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), launched a campaign through social networks entitled #EndangeredEmoji, displaying 17 emoticons of endangered animals. This was something that not only went viral, but also got people to give donations for the cause by paying to download the emojis.

There’s no doubt emoticons and emojis have gone beyond being personal. For years there has been the debate of whether it was appropriate or not to use these symbols in email, but now the answer is pretty evident. Professional emails now finish off with various emoticons to either soften a hard decision or justify something that something did not go as expected. They’re even used in social media posts to add a clearer tone of voice.

So, if WWF and The New Yorker are using them, why not also take a stab at using emoji in your communications? You can try adding them to your newsletters, social media posts, and if you’re really feeling daring perhaps you’ll take some inspiration from Hilary Clinton’s portrait and use them in your next promo poster.

If used wisely, not only will you grab your audience’s attention, but you’ll also give an extra boost to your content, always striving to be more viral and reach more people, as well as showing you’re up to date with the latest trends.

Marta Terrasa